Letter – Joint stadium for SHS, WHS?

Published 5:29 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Isle of Wight County Schools Superintendent Dr. Theo Cramer proposes just under $1.5 million in much-needed repairs to Smithfield and Windsor High School stadiums hosting football, soccer, field hockey, and track and field events. 

The funds would repair the tracks at both stadiums, replace seating (regular and accessible) at Smithfield, repair lighting at Windsor, and upgrade both playing surfaces. Embarrassingly, the poor condition of these facilities has resulted in our schools being excluded from hosting some events, including all track meets in 2024 and hosting playoff games in multiple sports.

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Given these issues, the county should strongly consider building a new stadium that both schools would use at the Isle of Wight County Fairgrounds. This idea is not without precedent, as many area school districts with multiple high schools already do this, including traditional Smithfield opponents in York and James City counties. 

While a new stadium would undoubtedly cost more initially than the $1.5 million in repairs currently proposed, over time there would be cost savings in maintenance along with the possibility of numerous additional uses for the schools, youth athletics and other county events. The Smithfield High School/Middle School campus is already crowded. The campus would become untenable if a replacement Westside Elementary is added. The current stadiums could be repurposed to increase practice facilities and allow room for Career Technical Education (CTE) program growth. 

If designed thoughtfully, the stadium could provide a better fairgrounds concert venue. Additionally, youth sports programs across the county would also be able to use the facility to host games and tournaments. The stadium could also host other non-sports events such as Relay for Life fundraisers, band competitions, holiday celebrations and seasonal farmer markets. Hosting these events would generate revenue that would help offset maintenance costs. Additionally, everyone in the county could benefit from generous donations, such as the recent scoreboard donation at Smithfield from Smithfield Foods.

While $1.5 million certainly wouldn’t cover the cost of a new stadium, it would cover a sizable portion and the overall cost could be spread out over time as a capital project. Hopefully, the Board of Supervisors will give this serious consideration.


Lewis Edmonds